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Morial: Recession Reversed Economic Gains For Many Blacks

Photo by Teresa Vieira for KUT News

The recession has stripped African-Americans of thirty years of economic gains, according to the president the National Urban League. Marc Morial was in Austin today to speak to a leadership summit hosted by the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.

"It has been difficult for white, Latino, Asian, all people.  But African-Americans have taken the toughest brunt of this,” Morial said.

Morial says unemployment for African-Americans is running at 16 percent, almost twice the national average.  Among African-American youth, it's 41 percent. 

He says the Urban League supports President Obama’s jobs plan, though the group would like to see the plan expanded to benefit more public sector workers. 

Jeffrey Richard is the former president of the Austin-area Urban League. He says the jobless rate among blacks in Central Texas is also between 14 and 16 percent, and he says budget cuts could make that higher.

“African-Americans have traditionally fared better in public employment and in educational institutions,” Richard told KUT News. “Those are the very two institutions that comprise a large part of the economy here and they are up next for reductions.”

Richard says a downturn in public funding would likely have a ripple effect on unemployment, making the situation for African-Americans in Austin a lot worse.